SALT LAKE CITY — Eric Babb, 16, of Highland, and Morgan Barron, 13, of Riverton, have been named Utah’s top youth volunteers for 2012 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Eric is a sophomore at the Utah County Academy of Science in Orem who mobilized more than 2,200 people over the past five years to help him remove harmful invasive weeds from a wilderness park near his home. Eric also organized a major re-vegetation project in which students from five middle schools and high schools worked together to plant native grass and wildflower seeds where weeds had been pulled. The project was paid for by grants he obtained.
Morgan, an eighth-grader at South Hills Middle School, spearheaded several initiatives to grow vegetables for the hungry, involving more than 100 youth volunteers and resulting in nearly 1,500 pounds of produce donated to a food bank. Morgan also piloted a program in which residential gardeners share their produce with those in need.
As state honorees, Eric and Morgan each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for several days of national recognition events.
Ten of them will be named America’s top youth volunteers for 2012 on May 7. These honorees will receive additional $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit charitable organizations of their choice.